Between 1942 and 1972, jazz changed more than it had in all the years before, or would in all the years after. When this period began, Miles Davis was a high-school student, moonlighting in St. Louis dance bands; as it ended, he had become the avatar of a blend of jazz and deep funk that only made real sense to listeners on hard drugs.
In between, Davis traced a line from a kind of swing-rooted music heard on “Au Privave,” an early number cut as a Charlie Parker sideman, into dalliances with classical forms, R&B and electrified sounds.
The above is the opening of Tim Howard’s Wall Street Journal review of the new book Why Jazz Happened by Marc Myers.
Definitely looks like a selection to add to the bedside table for future reading.